THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Aboard Air Force One) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release August 12, 2000
August 11, 2000
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
THE SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
SUBJECT: Second Chance Homes for Teen Parents
My Administration has made it a key priority to promote personal responsibility, prevent teenage pregnancy, and to provide young people with the educational and employment opportunities necessary to break the cycle of dependency. We know the devastating effects on young people when they become parents too soon -- nearly 80 percent of single teen mothers end up on welfare and only one-third receive a high school diploma or GED. We also know the impact that this has on their children, who are 40 percent more likely to have low birth weights; need 20 percent more health care; and are at greater risk of abuse and neglect. More-over, girls of teen mothers are a third more likely to become teen mothers themselves and boys of teen mothers are nearly 3 times more likely to be incarcerated than boys of mothers who delayed childbearing.
Under my Administration, I have taken bold steps to promote responsibility and prevent teen pregnancy by taking executive action to require young mothers to stay in school or risk losing welfare payments, enacting welfare reform in 1996, strengthening child support enforcement, and launching a National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. We know that these efforts are having an impact: teen birth rates have dropped for the eighth year in a row, falling by 20 percent since their most recent peak in 1991 to the lowest levels since we began collecting these data 60 years ago. But we also know that there are still far too many children having children, and we must do more.
To build on this progress and to reach out to teen mothers at risk of a repeat pregnancy, my FY 2001 budget includes a provision to invest $25 million in the creation and expansion of "second chance homes." It is critical that we help teen parents who cannot live with their own parents or other rela-tives gain access to supportive, adult-supervised living arrangements -- second chance homes -- that offer parenting skills, job counseling, education, and other referrals to help reduce the chance of repeat pregnancies and improve the prospects for young mothers and their children. Where appropriate, these programs should also reach out to involve young fathers in responsible parenting, and to help reconnect these teens with their own parents. An early evaluation of the Second Chance Homes program in Massachusetts has demonstrated that second chance homes can reduce the number of repeat pregnancies. Moreover, this study showed that mothers served by second chance homes were more likely to become self-sufficient, complete high school, and to keep their children's immunizations up to date. With approximately 100,000 repeat pregnancies each year, we must do all that we can to help improve the prospects for teen parents and their children.
Therefore, I direct the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development to work together to implement the following actions:
(1) Within 60 days, issue guidance to nonprofit organizations (both faith-based and other community-based organizations) and State and local governments to create awareness about the second chance home model, highlight States' responsibility to provide access to adult-supervised living arrangements for minor parents who cannot live at home, provide best practices oncerning program design, and provide user-friendly information about existing funding sources for both facilities and services costs, for the creation or expansion of second chance homes; (2) Create a joint technical assistance effort to help communities interested in establishing or expanding second chance homes; (3) Use all available legal authority to provide organizations interested in establishing second chance homes access to foreclosed, underutilized, and surplus real estate or facilities at the maximum allowable discount. The Department of Housing and Urban Development should also explore opportunities to increase the availability of Supportive Housing Program funds to second chance homes for teen parents; and (4) Clarify that teen parents in second chance homes may be eligible for low-income housing vouchers and encourage second chance home operators to accept housing voucher holders into their programs.
The swift and collaborative implementation of these actions is vital to achieving our goal of helping teen parents take responsibility for their lives and their children's futures.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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